Bal Vidhan Sabha
It has been Plan India’s belief that the best advocates for child rights are the children themselves. Over the years, Plan has designed and implemented many community-led programmes that are sustainable due to the deep engagement of the beneficiaries with the cause. Uttarakhand’s Bal Vidhan Sabha (Children’s Assembly) is one such child-led advocacy forum that works to improve the lives and give a voice to over 0.4 crore children from the state. The advocacy forum is run in close collaboration with the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) and receives patronage from the speaker of the state Assembly. Run across 13 districts, 3,000 children have applied for membership to the Children’s Assembly since 2014.
To ensure unbiased representation, open applications are requested through advertisements in newspapers. A thorough process led by a review committee selects 70 members, with equal representation of boys and girls. These selected Bal Vidhayaks conduct elections to elect their Chief Minister and other ministers, the leader of the opposition, and a speaker.
Children learn democratic values and are provided with a platform to discuss child rights issues in their areas and explore solutions. The solutions are shared with the state government for further action in the form of resolutions passed in annual sessions of the Children’s Assembly. About 100 such resolutions have been submitted to the state government since inception which have contributed to government actions like strengthening the commitments of the Juvenile Justice Act at district level and development of WASH infrastructure in schools. The only structured Children’s Assembly of its kind, the Bal Vidhan Sabha promotes equal opportunities and presents an avenue for participation and representation in the democratic process to young girls and boys.
- 3000 children have applied for the membership of Bal Vidhan Sabha since 2014.
- 210 children (105 girls and 105 boys) have been selected from the 13 districts of Uttarakhand as Bal Vidhayaks till date.
- 10,000 children have been sensitized on child rights.
- 3 girls have been appointed as Chief Ministers in the last 5 years.
- 39 Bal Vidhayaks (22 girls and 17 boys) have undergone training on girls safety and prevention of children for substance abuse.